With summer just around the corner, the Transport Agency and its partners have been working hard to make one of the Waikato/Bay of Plenty’s most popular motorcycle routes as safe as possible.
The Southern Coromandel loop is around 130 kilometres, taking in State Highways 2, 25, 25A and 26 passing through Kopu, Paeroa, Waihi and Whangamata. It contains some fine scenery and some tight, twisting roads.
“The rugged terrain and scenic beauty of the Southern Coromandel make it an irresistible touring route for motorcyclists who really enjoy putting their skills to the test,” Transport Agency Principal Safety Engineer, Michelle Te Wharau says.
“Unfortunately, crash data shows that over the past five years (2009-2013) motorcyclists were involved in 42 per cent of the fatal and serious crashes along this stretch of highway, yet they make up only two per cent of the road users,” she says.
Four emergency helicopter land pads have been installed on State Highways 25 and 25A between Kopu and Whangamata, to ensure a quick response by emergency services in the case of a crash.
The Transport Agency worked closely with the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Trust to scope suitable sites which are now formed and clearly marked with a large yellow ‘’H’’.
All emergency services such as Search and Rescue, the NZ Fire Service and Civil Defence will also be able to use the landing pads.
Along with partners in the Safer Rides project, signs and road markings which identify potential road hazards and dangerous corners have been installed. Work has also been carried out to remove roadside obstacles to improve vision on some tighter sections.
The Transport Agency is working in partnership on the Safer Rides project with the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council, ACC, Thames-Coromandel and Hauraki District Councils, Waikato Regional Council, NZ Police as well as motorcycling user groups.
Other popular motorcycle routes which have been identified for similar work are the Northern Coromandel loop and Pokeno to Raglan.